Greetings in Korean

How many greetings in Korean do you know? “Anyoung haseyo” (hello) is a good start, but let’s try a few more. After this free audio lesson you’ll know some expressions to use at different times of the day, and for casual and formal occasions.

Listen to the native speakers greeting each other, and then go ahead and practice saying each phrase aloud. Once you’re feeling confident with different ways to say hello in Korean you’ll learn some different ways to say goodbye in Korean as well.

It’s important to get the basics right, and the Korean people you meet will really appreciate your efforts. You know you’re saying it correctly if they keep talking, expecting you to keep up! Koreans, in general, are friendly and may expect the same approach from you. So be prepared to be greeted and greet them in return.

As in every other language, in Korean, what you say and do to greet people depends on the time of the day, the occasion and the person you’re greeting. Just saying “Anyoung” (Hi) is impolite. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, stretch out your right hand, and slightly bow. While this is being done, say “Anyoung haseyo!” which literally means “Are you at peace?” Shaking and bowing at the same time is a custom - be careful not to pump the hand of the person you’re meeting, just clasp hands briefly. 

How to pronounce Korean greetings

As hard as you try, without helpful feedback your Korean pronunciation is never going to be the same as a native speaker’s. If you've found it difficult to perfect the way you say Korean words and phrases, this lesson will help you.

Using the blue Rocket Record buttons you can record the way you say each word or phrase, and compare it with the way a native speaker of Korean does. That’s right, with Rocket Languages voice mapping technology you can record your voice as many times as you need until your pronunciation matches the Korean speaker!

And when you are ready test yourself using My Level and really power up your learning and recall. Just click the "My Level" tab above to get started!

Anyoung haseyo! is the most common greeting for someone you meet face to face. It can be used at any time of day and to anyone.

Anyoung haseyo!
Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening
  • Hello in Korean

After the first meeting, the next time you meet the same person, you probably don’t have to shake their hand again, unless that person is senior in position or age, or it’s been a while since you last saw him/her.

You can also say “Anyoung!” for “Hello!” but it is only strictly used between close friends and to younger people, as it is informal. Do not use it if you’re speaking to an older person.

Hello / Hi (informal)

But, “Anyoung haseyo!” is always safe! The reply to “Anyoung haseyo!” is also “Anyoung haseyo”. You can prefix this with the person’s name, if you wish.

Anyoung haseyo!

As a foreigner newly arrived in the country, or on your very first meeting with someone, you can also use one of these options to greet someone.

만나서 반갑습니다.
Mannasuh bangapseumnida.
Happy to meet you.
Jal bootak deurimnida.
I offer you a request/Please look after me.

Korean doesn’t have a separate greeting for morning, noon, afternoon and evening. It’s appropriate to use Anyoung haseyo at all times of the day. However, there is a phrase used to say “Good night”.

안녕히 주무십시요
Anyoung-hi jumu ship shiyo
Good night

Also, at lunchtime and dinnertime, you may be greeted by a Korean asking shiksa hashutsuyo which means “Did you have a meal?” – Don’t worry about getting into detail about what you had for a meal – all you need to say is a simple ne (yes).

Shiksa hashutsuyo?
Did you have a good meal?

There are two common ways of saying goodbye in Korean. First, there is the “goodbye” used when you are leaving, as the guest, and the other person is staying. Listen to the audio.

안녕히 계세요.
Anyoung hee gyeseyo.
Goodbye “Please stay well” (when you are leaving)

The second “goodbye” is for when you are staying, as the host or hostess, and the other person is leaving.

안녕히 가세요.
Anyoung hee gaseyo.
Goodbye “Please go well” (when you are staying)

And for those who want to play it casual, you can use one of the following phrases to say “bye”.

잘 있어.
Jal itsuh.
Bye (Stay well)

The second “goodbye” is for when you are staying, as the host or hostess, and the other person is leaving.

잘 가.
Jal ga.
Bye (Go well)

That’s it for this lesson. Using different greetings will make you sound more fluent in Korean, and it will win you the respect of local people. Try to remember as many as you can!

Anyoung hee gaseyo!

Sujung Lee
Sujung Lee
Rocket Korean


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